I met the Ollis Thursday for some games. It was a fairly monotonous event, with only two different games played. It’s not a big deal, since the games were excellent.
I’m really growing fond of Industrial Waste. We played three games, once with just Olli M. and me, twice with three players. It’s fast, too — we were able to finish it in 30 minutes.
It’s funny how it goes, really. When we played our first three-player game, Olli M. commented how the raw material use was the least interesting front of advancement — and of course, that was the area we all pushed to maximum in that game.
I also came up with a clever idea of holding to advisors. In an ideal situation one would always have an advisor in hand for special purposes, but I tended to use the advisors I held for double innovation.
Not many loans were seen in our games. That’s still quite unattractive. We all seem to agree that taking loans for investments is a good idea, but the right opportunity just doesn’t come up that often — you usually have the money without loaning.
My wishlist item number one was Cosmic Eidex, which we also played. We got hang of it fairly quickly. It’s almost an easy game for me, after playing other Ace-ten games. Indeed, I wasn’t actually confused by the special value of tens, but the lack of it! In typical Ace-ten games tens are second in both the ranking and the value, but in Cosmic Eidex it’s just the value.
Of course, teaching Cosmic Eidex to someone whose trick-taking experience means playing Last trick as a kid or Hearts on the computer is going to be very tricky.
Anyway, it was an interesting game and the special abilities spiced it up nicely. I got Jiu-jitsu, which I used to my advantage, usually to lose a trick (Jiu-jitsu can choose once a hand to have a lower card beat a card one rank better) I didn’t want to get. Olli H. had Fahnder, the cop, which allows one to request a certain card. He used it twice, I think, to call big cards, once to win (he played B of trumps and asked for the nine), once to lose (similar scenario, but reversed). Olli M. used his ability the most: Trumphator can reject the trump suit determined in the deal.
The end was particularly exciting. The game is played to seven game points; two are dealt out each game (typically to lowest scorer and the highest scorer). After eight rounds, the game was 6-5-5 for Olli M. Of course, this meant me and Olli H. had to work together to beat a common foe to get an even chance, 6-6-6 (which would’ve made the game even more interesting). Unfortunately, I blew it. First we wanted to pile up tricks to Olli M. (if a player scores more than 100 of the 157 points, he loses), but when he avoided tricks, I started to collect. In the end, I managed to take a lot of cards in the end, but scored 105 — over the limit, and no points for me! Thus Olli M. won 7-6-5.
I really like Cosmic Eidex. It’s an exciting game, where you can indeed do whatever your cards are good for. Usually it’s misère, because you can’t blow that. Going for the points is a tricky challenge, but just counting the aces, tens and B and 9 of the trump suit covers most of the points in the deck, so counting the scores during the game shouldn’t be too daunting task.
The cosmic powers spice up the game. Some are better than others, and some are downright annoying. I first drew Quizmaster and we quickly decided that I get a re-draw. Quizmaster gets to ask a yes/no question from another player after each trick — that’s pretty good, but very annoying and slows down the game a lot.
Anyway, the current number one three-player game is clear now.
Johanna wanted to play a game with me today. I chose Lost Valley. It was a good choice — Johanna rated the game a full 10 after just one play!
Then again, it’s her kind of game, really. Micromanagement, fun projects to build up, clear and concrete goals — she just doesn’t like the artificial and constructed nature of many games.
Lost Valley is also peaceful — we played so that each one of us had a different side of the river to explore, so there were no conflicts. Some might call it boring, but Johanna loved it and I thought it was good fun, too. I wonder why the box says 3-4 players, as the two-player game is this good?
Johanna won our game. We both mined the mountains for gold. When she had her ten nuggets and 35 gold pieces, I got seven and 22. I blame the valley: on her side the valley was heavily forested, on my side there was one forest deep in the valley and another one nearer the store, which I found in the very end of the game. I was heavily handicapped by the lack of wood. Johanna had some troubles getting food in large quantities, but those were minor compared to my problems.
Well, I’m used to losing in Lost Valley, so no big deal, and I know how much Johanna likes to win. It was all good fun, and I’m quite sure this won’t be the last game of Lost Valley we play. I don’t think Johanna has ever been this excited about a board game (well, maybe Antiquity, but that’s all very theoretical at this point).